|The most far-reaching federal lead-based
paint requirement is that owners of pre-1978 properties and their agents
provide prospective buyers and tenants an educational pamphlet about lead
hazards to children and disclose known information about the presence of
lead-based paint and lead hazards in the particular property. In addition,
buyers have up to ten days to hire a lead inspector or a risk assessor at
their own expense. Joint HUD and EPA regulations
implementing these provisions took full effect in December 1996.
Providers of housing built before 1978 should take care to
provide the required pamphlet and any available property-specific
information about lead to prospective tenants and buyers.
Maintenance Practices as well will greatly reduce
the risk of poisoning and offer reassurance to tenants.
Tenants and tenant advocates should examine the potential that these
disclosure requirements offer in their struggles with recalcitrant landlords.
Property owners who disclose known hazards may, in effect, be declaring
that they are in violation of local codes. The penalties for noncompliance
are substantial, and both HUD and EPA have enforcement authority. In fact,
in mid-1998 EPA imposed its first set of civil money penalties for violations
of this rule. In each case, the properties were occupied by families with
young children and contained lead-based paint.